Pigeons in Hemel Hempstead are so tough that even a potentially deadly hawk cannot scare them away.
Council chiefs have revealed that a three month trial using the bird of prey to ward off the nuisance birds in the town centre has not worked.
And it’s people feeding the pests that is fuelling the problem.
A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council said: “Pigeons in the town centre create a nuisance for many residents and retailers and we are continually looking at ways to manage the population, which is growing because there is a significant and constant source of food for them in the town.
“We ask that the public don’t feed the pigeons as this encourages them to stay in the town.”
The trained hawk is meant to scare off the pigeons and is fed before taking flight so that there is no incentive to try and kill any of the birds for food.
Now the council is investigating other ways to control the pigeon population.
The spokesman said: “The main reason the hawk hasn’t worked is due to the availability of food in the area, as the public are feeding the pigeons.”
Although the hawk trial has been unsuccessful overall, the council, which was unable to give figures on the number of town centre pigeons, reports that the population has decreased but that it is not significant enough to justify the cost of the hawk flights.
Back in 2008, a similar hawk scheme was tried in the town centre but shortly after arriving the bird made a bid for freedom and was reported to be living wild.
It cost the taxpayer £9,000 and also caused controversy when shoppers including children watched in dismay as a hawk attacked a duck.
The bird, worth thousands of pounds, was eventually tracked down.